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Startups – Run Away From Specialized Agencies Offering “Help”

Startups – Run Away From Specialized Agencies Offering “Help”

They will hate me for this!

They will say I am an inexperienced moron and hazardous person.

Hazardous person!

Why do people hate so much?

Sanchit, my own co-founder hates me.

He was mad at me for telling everyone about his reading habits, then for the things I said about his favorite startup hero (and making them public) and especially for telling everyone that he was planning to go and borrow from his father’s marriage fund when we were broke. 

Startup founders. Fellow tribesmen. Listen up.

As you set the foundation of your startup, you will be approached by specialized agencies such as HR recruiters coming with a promise to bring you “top notch” hires from various MNCs – programmers, designers, UI extraordinaires  business developers etc.

They will tell you that these people are exactly what you are looking for your fast growing startup.

This will especially intensify if you have received a seed investment, like in the case of my baby boy Stay Uncle​. Calls and LinkedIn invitations will happen daily.

Don’t go for it..

1). You should not consider yourself a fast growing startup, nor let others call you, until you have reached your product market fit stage. It’s not a compliment at all.

Product market fit stage means that you have figured out your customer persona, the mainstream user of your product/service and the channels to reach out to him. After that, it is all about scaling and setting up processes.

2). Fast growing startup does not mean one which hires more people. No, that’s just an illusion of growth. The worst of the vanity metrics.

Fast growing startup means growth of your core business metrics, specific to your case only.

Enlarging the team size was not and will never be an indicator of growth for a startup. Perhaps Housing has learned the lesson after having to fire over 600 people.

3). If you have reached the product market fit stage, then and only then go for such specialized services and hire people who are process oriented. That’s right. If you hire people from MNCs, they will destroy you and throw you into an abyss.

They will come to you and look for structures, procedures and processes they should be following. Maybe even a manual.  For isolated islands of predictability in the midst of an ocean of chaos.

They will call themselves managers and coordinators, and they will look for the team they should be “managing”

4). A startup should avoid process oriented people. Startup is not a structure, not a company (yet), but a series of experiments in customer development. Doing experiments means getting your hands dirty, which has nothing to do with management.

Remember this – Customer development is a sole and exclusive task of the founders.

Do not hire people for customer development on the pretext that they will sell your product. Customer development is not the same as sales.

Customer development means finding a way to sell something to someone. Sales means following a well known way to sell something to a well known market.

Business developers and salesmen are only good at selling a particular product to familiar set of people in familiar ways, they exist to follow established truths and ways. That is just not how a startup is.

There is no such thing as familiar in a startup. Everything is in a state of flux. It is a laboratory, a maze, a freaking Tartarus, not a staircase to a temple of pilgrimage.

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